It’s impossible to talk about this episode of The Mandalorian without making reference to some spoilers, in contrast to last week’s episode, which saw Pedro Pascal’s armored bounty hunter and internet sensation Baby Yoda team up to take down a rhino and do basically nothing else for half an hour. At the end of that episode, titled The Child, the Mandalorian was last seen boarding his spaceship with Baby Yoda in tow, presumably escorting the adorable little green puppet back to his client, the mysterious mastermind played by Werner Herzog. So where does the story pick up this week?
Well, that’s where the spoilers come into play, so if you haven’t seen the episode, you should definitely do so – I know! I’m actually recommending this show now! That’s because director Deborah Chow has actually managed to revitalize my interest in the Mandalorian’s character arc, and his interactions with Baby Yoda, which are the emotional heartbeat of this story so far.
When the episode begins, however, the Mandalorian is forced to make a very tough choice about Baby Yoda’s future: face-to-face with Herzog’s nameless (but unmistakably evil) Imperial client, the Mandalorian – even in-universe, every other character has taken to calling him Mando, so I’m going to do the same, despite my concerns that the name is instead in a disparaging, rather than respectful, way – ends up handing over the adorable little green baby in exchange for a handful of metal slabs that he turns into more armor (and another shoulder-pad to match his current one) with a little help from Emily Swallow’s character, The Armorer. Just as before, Mando gets flashback visions while the Armorer is busy making his new suit of armor; visions which, as before, show a child (presumably him?) being rushed through a war-zone by frightened parents and placed into a bunker. Now, though, we get a tantalizing new glimpse of what happened – barely moments after being carried to safety, an explosion rocks the underground chamber and baby Mando looks up to see the bunker doors thrown open to reveal an intimidating killer robot – one of the B2 super battle droids from the Star Wars prequels, if I’m not mistaken.
We still don’t know why the Mandalorian gets these flashbacks when he’s at the armory, but we do get some insight about the workings of Mandalor culture – emphasis on cult, as the small group of secretive warriors seem to be. With their semi-religious reverence for weaponry and their deference to the weapons-maker, it looks like the way of Mandalor lies in battle and the glory of warfare. Our protagonist, the Mandalorian, is up for a promotion, it seems, for killing the big rhino in the last episode, and the Armorer asks him if he’d like to choose a signet engraved with said rhino’s image – an honor he respectfully refuses, as he had help in killing the creature “from an enemy”, i.e. Baby Yoda.
But the Mandalorian has a heart of gold, or at least something other than Beskar steel, which everybody else in the galaxy is willing to sell their souls for: rather than move on with his life and go hunt down other innocent people for money, he decides to turn around and save Baby Yoda. Helped along by his new, impenetrable armor and his highly-advanced weapons (such as “singing birds”, which is basically a volley of poison darts hidden in one’s glove), the Mandalorian is successful in his mission, and breaks an unconscious Baby Yoda free of creepy Doctor Pershing’s nefarious operating table. Pershing swears up and down he was trying to keep Baby Yoda alive, but the Mandalorian ignores him and goes looking for Herzog’s character – instead, he finds a whole bunch of stormtroopers, whom he dispatches (thanks to those singing birds and a couple of flamethrowers), before making his escape. As of right now, we still have no idea where Herzog’s character has gone, and we’re still no closer to learning his true identity.
So the episode’s titular Sin has been repented for, but the Mandalorian isn’t quite out of the woods yet – or should I say, out of the grungy city full of hundreds of other bounty hunters whose tracking fobs all light up and start pointing the way towards the fleeing Mandalorian. That little predicament (undoubtedly sparked by Herzog, wherever he is) leads to a confrontation at the spaceport between Mando and a crowd of angry killers, assassins and mercenaries led by Mando’s…friend?…Greef Karga, played by Carl Weathers. While it seems at first like little Yoda might use the Force to get them out of trouble, it turns out to be Mando’s other Mandalorian friends who arrive with jetpacks and laser-machine guns to save the day – well, night. And after briefly confronting Karga and throwing him out of his spaceship, Mando and Baby Yoda take off once again to destinations unknown.
And I, as the skeptical audience-member unimpressed with the series’ previous installments, am left feeling very pleased with what I just watched. It was complete, but gave us enough hints and unsolved mysteries to keep us guessing. It was more compellingly acted, though Pedro Pascal is still fighting a losing battle with his helmet (which, according to his character, he has never removed in all his life: he did hesitate slightly when asked if he had ever had it removed for him, though – why, pray tell, is that even a question one asks of someone?).
Next week, we should find out where the Mandalorian and his infant quarry are headed, and what Herzog plans to do about them. I hope we also finally get to see Ming-Na Wen in next week’s episode, since the show is still conspicuously Ming-less.
What did you think of the episode, and what theories do you have about the series in general? Share your own thoughts in the comments below!
Episode Rating: 7/10
Greef Karga (Carl Weathers)